TN: Doing Well by Doing Good: A Private Dinner for a Wonderful Cause


Three of us joined to form the winning bid for an exquisite wine dinner in the private cellar of a longtime friend of ours, all to raise money for LA Team Mentoring, a truly worthy cause. We knew we would be treated to some extraordinary wines, but the host outdid himself. Everything was from 750’s save for a 375 of the Yquem, and shared amongst the six fortunate attendees.
With Passed Appetizers

  • 1989 Louis Roederer Champagne Cristal Brut Rosé - France, Champagne
    Advanced and starting to fade, with notable oxidation, but still very pleasant. A dense, heavy wine. Notes of mild caramel, wet wool and yeast. (90 pts.)
  • 2010 Peter Michael Sauvignon Blanc L’Apres-Midi - USA, California, Sonoma County, Knights Valley
    Grassy typicity on the nose, with rich notes of lemon curd and fig. Tremendous acidity, actually out of balance in my view. There was a slight oxidized aspect to the finish, that might have blown off over time, had we lingered. I have to say this may have been served too young, strange as that may seem. (93 pts.)

First Course
Little Gem and Arugula Salad
Burrata Cheese, Pea Shoots, Wild Mushrooms & Sugar Snap Peas

  • 2006 Aubert Chardonnay Ritchie Vineyard - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
    Fully evolved at this point, and arguably lacking a spark of acidity. Lovely oily texture, with a nose of tart lemon. Powerful stone fruit and spice, with good minerality. No noticeable oak. Touch comp versus the Montrachet with which it as paired. (93 pts.)
  • 2008 Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey Montrachet - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Montrachet Grand Cru
    An absolutely stellar, balanced and enticing bottle. A ripe, floral nose of underripe peaches, spice and citrus gives way to a muscular, weighty wine. Toasted marshmallow, almonds, citrus and spice. Impressive texture, almost chewy. (96 pts.)

Second Course
Grilled Lemon Marinated California Swordfish & Fresh Gremolata Herb Sauce

  • 2007 Marcassin Pinot Noir Blue-Slide Ridge Vineyard - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
    Broad-shouldered and a touch overripe, with clean berries on the palate. A bit one-dimensional but still quite impressive. (91 pts.)
  • 1996 Domaine Leroy Clos Vougeot - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Clos Vougeot Grand Cru
    In a beautiful place, youthful but balanced. Spiced cherry on the nose, and maybe some forest floor notes. Concentrated layers of ripe, dark berries on the palate, and well-integrated oak. Firm grippiness on the lengthy finish. (95 pts.)

Third Course
Grilled Rib Eye Steak with Cabernet Wine Sauce

  • 2001 Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon - USA, California, Napa Valley, Oakville
    For some reason, this treasure of a bottle never blossomed on this night. The legendary purity and balance was evident, but the flavor profile was quite muted despite a lengthy decant. The nose evidenced licorice and dark fruit aromas. There was a notable lack of intensity on the palate despite the thick mouthfeel. Very concentrated but a clipped finish, relative to expectations anyway. (93 pts.)
  • 1998 Henschke Shiraz Hill of Grace - Australia, South Australia, Barossa, Eden Valley
    My first Hill of Grace, and I am thrilled to say it was a revelatory wine indeed! Intense, unrelenting blueberry notes spring from the glass. That enticing perfume is complemented by layers of spice, balanced oak and rich fruit. Smooth, sweet tannins emerge on the lengthy finish. Not the most complex wine, but neither does it come off as extracted. An elegant beauty in my book. (96 pts.)
  • 1998 Château Cheval Blanc - France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
    A weighty, seamless powerhouse of a wine, which needed more time to open but nevertheless displayed impressive, complex layers of silky dark fruit and herbal notes along with some spice and smooth tannins. Though still restrained and youthful, the wine is lush and sexy – ooh, that velvety texture… (96 pts.)

Strawberry Rhubarb Compote

  • 1963 Taylor (Fladgate) Porto Vintage - Portugal, Douro, Porto
    Tremendous strength and vibrancy. Benefitted from a several hour decant. Violets and vanilla on the nose. A rich, velvety mouthfeel. Intense and complex waves of spice and fruit flavor profiles, with a smooth, sweet finish of caramel and salty mocha, with zero sediment and no astringency. (95 pts.)
  • 1975 Château d’Yquem - France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes
    Amazing concentration, with lush and virtually infinite layers of flavor: smoky crème brulee, honeyed fruits, coconut and a touch of marzipan, among many notes. Precise and powerful. Will only get better. (98 pts.)

It is hard to pick a WOTN given the diversity we tasted, but setting scores aside, it is the Henschke to which my mind keeps returning every time.
Posted from CellarTracker

Very nice night!

Nice to see a note on a Henschke. Unfortunately, they have become too expensive now but I have been fortunate enough to have tasted them quite a few times in the past.

super cool tasting!

Ahh that Cheval Blanc must have been amazing. Nice notes on a very cool event.